Education does not exist for the benefit of students or for the benefit of their parents.
Education exists for the benefit of the public social order.
Leslie M. Walker
Head of School
I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Education from The University of Minnesota and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. The New Jersey Department of Education has awarded me certifications in Elementary Education-Grades K-8, Art Education-Grades K-12, Early Childhood Education, Supervision, Principal, and School Superintendent.
Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania is my hometown as well as my parents’, my grandparents’, my great-grandparents’, and even their parents’ before them. Along with the distinct culture of the Anthracite coal mining region, my world was made up of Pennsylvania Dutch customs from my mom's side combined with a very Polish heritage from my dad's (hence my maiden name of Muraczewski).
From childhood through college my summers were spent at my aunt's cottage and my dad's hobby farm, both adjacent to the now-so-popular Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. I was a regular there from the days when Fridays were “Dollar-Fifty Night” and the hand-stamp got you unlimited turns on all of their then-15 thrill rides.
After high school graduation, I attended Penn State Main Campus for three years before getting married, moving west, and completing my undergraduate education in Minnesota from where my new husband's family hailed. After five very chilly years, we moved back east and before I knew it I was a “Jersey Girl”.
I stayed home to raise my three children for several years before beginning my professional education career. In 1990 I started as a pre-Kindergarten teacher in Haddonfield. Soon after I was hired by the Cherry Hill Public School District to start-up and maintain their new after-school student enrichment program (STEP) at their twelve elementary schools. In 1998, when my youngest became school age, I began teaching 6th and 7th grades at Beck Middle School in Cherry Hill while simultaneously attending graduate school. I completed my year-long administrative internship at Beck, graduated, and was promoted to Assistant Principal in 2002. As a teacher at Beck I was trained to instruct using best practices of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. As an administrator I was trained and held the position of IBMYP Head of School facilitating the Program schoolwide.
In 2005, Berlin Township Board of Education hired me as Principal of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School. Originally a 5-8 grade school, I facilitated the transition of the District’s 4th grade students over to the middle school due to space constraints at the elementary building. Within four years, DDE earned the distinction as a School To Watch via the New Jersey Department of Education and the National Forum for Middle School Reform. There were 11 Schools to Watch in NJ and only 200 nationally.
In December 2012 I was given the honor of being appointed Superintendent of Schools by the Mt. Ephraim Board of Education. Here I was charged with updating all curriculum in-line with Common Core, ensuring our graduating 8th graders could compete with their Audubon receiving-district peers, facilitating a district-wide positive behavior support program, and implementing a one-to-one technology initiative.
In July 2016, I married a fellow educator. Overnight, I became Mrs. Walker as well as a grandmother of four! Mr. Walker and I live in a cute little lakeside house in Marlton, New Jersey. In the summer. we like going fishing after dinner and chit-chatting from the shore with our lake neighbors. When the lake freezes in the winter, we watch from our warm living room as local kids ice skate and play hockey. It's like being on vacation all year round!
I am thrilled and proud to have the honor of being selected as the Ellison Head of School. Ellison is a very special place. My goal is to serve our students, teachers, and families well.